by Rudri Bhatt Patel

by Judith Brice

Just As Age

It is different now—

the pinnacle of sun
its crescendo of heat
and warmth no longer with us,
no longer here to slat
through lassitude of clouds

and days, their shades of pewter, 
soft— taciturn with faint breeze-
off-waves, off the flicker
of aspen leaves, each twirling
on a stem so fragile it almost
breaks but doesn’t, won’t.

It is different now–

the gilded rays so distant and askew
you can’t find them to warm
a saddened face, 
nor catch them in your hands— 
before they vanish
into chill, into whorls of wind
that force a blink of eyes,
a scrunch of cheek—
just as age and cold set in.


Between the Darkening

Today the sun slid back behind the frost,
between the darkening, sallow roofs
and lost us to the errant eddies of late fall,
her vermillion leaves swirling brown,
swirling into a burnished gyre 
along an all-too-cold street of black,
whose slick-gray sidewalks slip smooth
beneath the restive remnants of a month
called fun—called Indian summer—
called love in the afternoon.

Today, the wind woke us from our trance
of spirit, of joy perched atop the lady slippers
doting next to the daisies, whose white sheathes
petal their suns, as the breeze turned
northerly, then mean, 
forever reminding us
that dawn will ever go down to day
and nothing gold, nothing good, will stay.

After Robert Frost: Nothing Gold Can Stay


Still Life With Shrapnel at Dusk*

I stand rigid now, walk like a shadow
of hope, slip slow along the road at dusk
no headlights on—
guard rails reflect 
but bare empty sky
no stars or moon
no comets or coyote howl.

I tense my body, forced wise
with gnaw of age, gallop of pain
to move her swollen hands
her gawky limbs— awry with
bolts and artificial limbs, these
pieces of life, attached back
to a puppet’s frame.

Don’t refer these fruits to medicine
or my surgeons’ laboring work
complete with bags of clips, hips,
pins and screws so easily installed
with torque and wisdom, both—
for I stand just a
few feet from the dark
still alive
still in life.

*Inspired by Jason Irwin

“Just as Age” was previously published in Light, a Journal of Poetry and Photography in Issue 9.